Technology’s role in COVID-19 (Singapore)

Technology’s role in COVID-19 (Singapore)

What if COVID-19 is actually the calm before the storm?

Just kidding, so far nothing is confirmed with regards to whether COVID-19 is indeed the Disease X that the World Health Organization established back in 2018.

Even if there is a worse disease following COVID-19, the valuable lessons learnt from the world’s current pandemic situation would help us better prepare for future pandemic outbreak.

Do not expect cooperation from citizens


Just to clarify – I’m not pointing fingers at any party, the effort has to come from everyone to tide through any worldwide pandemic. Certain restrictions and regulations will have to be imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Technologies are supplemented on top of Social Distancing to further ensure the containment of the pandemic, but there will definitely be negative reactions from the public when regulations are forced upon them.

Some people are unwilling to put on a mask when heading out, let alone using the technologies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Success Story: SafeEntry

People are coming up with so many innovative and creative solutions for COVID-19 but most of them does not work due to the lack of willingness to cooperate from the public. SafeEntry really outperform all the other solutions because of the following considerations:

  • Non-invasive
  • Seamless
  • Caters to most demographics
  • Government-Supported

Respecting the privacy of others is a really big requisite for getting people to even consider trying out the solution. SafeEntry does not require any hardware or software installation for both the venue owners and visitors, making it the most non-invasive solution and having the Government Technology Agency partake in the development of the solution sealed the deal in enforcing Safe Entry island wide.

SafeEntry does collect personal information to perform contact tracing but the government clarifies that the information are stored on the backend cloud servers under the government. The important part is that the good people of Singapore are willing to use SafeEntry.

SafeEntry alone is not enough. Hence TraceTogether is introduced, but…

Let’s not beat around the bush and get do why TraceTogether (government’s mobile application to trace other users using the application within close proximity) did not work (not well received actually).

  • Installation of application required
  • Account Creation
  • Bluetooth has to be switched on

People really do not appreciate having an extra application on their phone that increases their battery consumption and is of no benefit to the user. It is also a hassle to install and create an account albeit this is not really a big issue.

So the government released a TraceTogether token – a wearable bluetooth device that exchanges data with other tokens to trace users who came within proximity. But then the users are required to sign up to collect these tokens and they will have to carry an extra token around.

Here’s how most people think: The solution serves the government, not them.

But the big picture is: The solution helps the government to help the people.

Unfortunately most people would not see the bigger picture, and the fact that the users has to go out of their way to use something that does not provide them with immediate benefit does not make sense to them.

My personal opinion is that solutions like TraceTogether should be employed for usage by companies, where they are responsible for the safety of their employees. Also the regulations set in place for businesses to reopen by the government can easily be met by using such solutions.

So it would make sense for companies to adopt such solutions to meet these regulations and continue with their business operations while having a peace of mind that their business environment is safer for the employees as well.

In conclusion

Technology plays a huge part in Contact Tracing which in turn helps to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

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